Preservation in Action: Highlighting hands-on volunteer preservation efforts
By Christine Reynolds
On a sunny Saturday in October, about 20 people volunteered to clean and conserve the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
The memorial was completed and dedicated in 1995 to commemorate the sacrifices of the millions of Americans and allied partners who fought during the Korean War. The memorial is located on the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial. The site includes 19 individual statues of soldiers representing a platoon on patrol. The memorial also includes a reflection wall noting the United Nations countries that contributed soldiers or support to the war efforts, and a Pool of Remembrance.
The volunteers were trained at the beginning of the day and focused their efforts on the stainless steel statues. Each statue was cleaned using a mild gel based cleaner with specific attention to removing insect nests (mud daubers). The statues received an application of cleaner, were scrubbed with scrub brushes and rinsed. After the statues were dry, volunteers hand applied cold wax to the entire statue surface. Given the need for periodic maintenance and preservation of memorials and limited funding for these types of projects nationwide, these small volunteer steps help preserve our treasures.
This endeavor was coordinated by the National Park Service representatives and promoted by the Association for Preservation Technology local chapter (APT DC) to gather volunteers.